Written by Elliot F.
When I catch up with Liano he’s back home in L.A. digging into fresh, Pacific ceviche. “Fish is healthier man. After Lolla(palooza), I’m focusing on food. What you put in your body is the energy you get out. I used to make music on an empty stomach, but now that I don’t have to I’m doing it right.”
Food isn’t the only thing changing for Cuco’s soul-slapping drummer. Fresh off a North American tour, Liano didn’t skip a beat: he came home, released a new album of his own, and jetted off to Asia for the band’s first world tour. I tracked him down between bites and flights to pick his brain about the new project, morning shits, and why his heart is always in Hawthorne.
Probably the most physically draining tour. The last four days we were all running on no more than 10 hours of sleep in total..and it was all spread out. All the napping we got was in motion like on a plane, a bus, a van.
There was something different about me coming home. This time I didn’t wait to get right back into work.
Probably because.. (pauses) Probably because I just took myself out of a relationship. Theres just a weight that came off of me that allowed me to feel free and rehabilitated. I came back with more conserved energy to put back into the work. I don’t wanna waste time. I want my ideas to come to fruition as much as possible. This relationship gave me a lot of roots. Every thought came out of love.
I’m from Hawthorne. Growing up I always had my uncles to look up to. They were musicians, they were in a band, they had a room full of instruments, and I stayed in there. Every day after school I’d come home and practice every instrument. I didn’t really start making music until I was like 17. I was just learning all my favorite songs. Honestly that’s how I go about making music. I listen to it and say, “Man I really love this. How can I make my interpretation of it.
I just got into sampling. Everything I was making before was all originals.
I wanted to extend myself. I’ve always admired the beat team in LA and I wanted to be a part of that wave, sonically. Sampling won my heart and I wanted to give my heart to that. If I want to make bossanova I make bossanova, if I want to make a hip hop song I make hip hop.
I call it Nimble because I’m moving quickly through a diversity of sounds. Every song is not the same, but it moves cohesively from track to track. I’ve put out beats on Soundcloud before. This one, I feel like I’ve reached a new level and I’m ready to debut it on a platform where its available to different users (iTunes).
J-Dilla’s timing. In his music, every single sound plays a part that could go solo. The track could be one sound, and it would sound good! (Laughs) I don’t know. He was fair to every sound in each track that he had.
I’m very inspired by my own community. My homie Nani (Daniel) is my favorite producer right now. He’s a genius. Omar (Cuco’s birth name, Omar Banos) makes music that pops out, so I didn’t want my music to sound lo-fi. Even though I have a lo-fi track, I wanted my songs to pop out. Very crystal clear, well mixed, well leveled and comprehendible. I’ve seen how Omar mixes his music. It’s very simple, very raw.
I have to be relaxed. I’ll get up, pace around my house, think about my life, and wait for that morning shit. Day don’t start till that morning shit’s done. Eat something, walk my dog, get some fresh air, see my mom, give her a hug, sit in my room and start listening to music. When I’m ready to get started I’ll look for a sample or start a beat. I try not to think. It’s about letting myself go.
what do you get out of it?
I get some music to dance to. I love to dance. I’ll just start moving around my room. I’ll listen to a song I made and start moving and fall in love with my own music.
My cousin came over the other day and we made some hyphy-ass beats. He makes that Tyga, YG, that bouncy two-step shit. I’m over there crip walking in the room going crazy. I don’t want to stick to one sound.
Check out Amazon by Cal Tjader. That music is what my new album is gonna sound like. I’m still gonna put out production and side projects, but I’m gonna be seriously working on this Latin Jazz album. That Tito Puente. That real percussion. That type of music requires a lot of arrangement. You need a certain amount of players to make that music so I need to write and compose…that’s my next big one. On the way home I was thinking I want my uncles to play with me on this one. They introduced me to the world of music and I want to stay in that realm with them.
I don’t know what the hell’s gonna happen but yea, Latin Jazz. Original composition. Then I’m gonna be the one being sampled by whatever producer. What I like to sample is what I’m gonna make.
Catch Liano on tour with Cuco (next stop, Camden, UK) and check out his new album, Nimble, out now on Apple Music.